Dappled sunlight plays across her skin as she strolls through the forest. She enjoys the feeling of warmth, and she feels its morning heat recharging her. Farrah is glad of this; last night took a lot out of her.
A stream burbles as it winds its way between the trees. A mossy stone covers the spot where the water erupts from beneath the forest floor, and Farrah sits down. The sunlight is stronger here, and she closes her eyes to bask in its rays.
Her mind should be skipping through meadows, and enjoying its freedom, but her thoughts turn towards blackened walls, charred flesh and screaming. Glass explodes within intense heat, and the flames roar as they engulf whatever they find. The fire is alive, and it is hungry.
She opens her eyes, her heart racing, and she is glad to see the same peaceful glade. The trees stand guard and birds sing in the branches above. Green and brown surround Farrah, not yellow and red. The bubbling of the stream advises her to calm herself, to enjoy the peace.
Yet she cannot stay here all day. She must find a shelter – a new home, even. She doesn’t think she can return to the manor. Room 23 probably has a new occupant by now. She’s not sure she can trust the doctors any more. They can’t return her to Dr Phelps, but they can find somewhere else for her. No, she must find somewhere for herself.
She reaches the main road as the light is fading, and a chill hangs in the evening air. She walks along the grass verge, listening for cars. None pass by, and she tries to think of where she might be. The men who took her from the manor gave no hint of the location of the underground bunker, but it must have been far from a city.
Farrah leaves the forest behind as twilight dissolves into night. Moments later, a battered red Fiesta pulls up alongside her. The window winds down and the driver leans across the passenger seat towards her. He is a young man, with black curls and grey eyes.
“Do you need a lift somewhere?”
“Yes, I do.”
Farrah opens the car door and clambers inside, struggling to find room for her feet among the rubbish in the footwell. The driver gives her a sheepish grin, and pulls away from the kerb.
“So where do you need to be?” he asks.
“Anywhere, really. Wherever you’re going.”
“I’m just driving down the road to Upper Frampton. That do?”
“That sounds perfect.”
The driver tosses her a quizzical look but says nothing more, and she allows the movement of the car to lull her into a relaxed state. She gazes out of the front windscreen, watching the headlights cut a swathe out of the darkness ahead. Dr Phelps called her a light in the dark, the first spark to start the fire that would beat the eternal night back. But Dr Phelps is dead.
The driver flicks on the radio, and the sounds of the 1970s drown out the screams in Farrah’s mind.